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>> yeah, solemn day today across america and, of course, in the so cnn newsroom. one of the six adults victim of the shooting in newtown, connecticut, parent told us they were in a meeting yesterday with the principal and vice principal along with mary sherlock when they heard the loud pop, pop, pop, they went to check that out in the hallway. sherlock and the principal didn't return alive. just a very solemn outcome to that. sherlock was part of a team that was really relied upon there at sandy hook elementary. she was part of the school's crisis intervention team, ali. so even in a time like this when people are turning to those for comfort, she's no longer with us. ali? >> yeah, sad story. nick valencia at the cnn center in atlanta. thanks, nick.
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good morning, everyone. i'm ali velshi. you're watching our special coverage of the connecticut school shooting. i'm in newtown, connecticut, about a block away from the school which is roughly behind me. a block away from the scene of the horrible massacre. here's what we know right now. in about an hour, officials are expected to start releasing the names of the victims. we've learned the names of two of the adults, the principal and a school counselor, but not the names of the children. now, that is expected to start happening at around 8:00 a.m. right where i am. right now the bodies are still inside the school. police say it's an active crime scene and that means the shooter's body is still there, as well. police say 20-year-old adam lanza was the shooter, and also say his mother's body was found inside the home they shared together about 2 1/2 miles from here. >> i'm john berman in the town
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square here in newtown. flags flying at half staff here all around the country to honor those lost at the elementary school shooting here in newtown, the sandy hook elementary school. president obama offered his own thoughts this morning in his weekly address. thoughts on the tragedy, and thoughts on guns. >> on friday, we learned that more than two dozen people were killed when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school in newtown, connecticut. most of those who died were just young children with their whole lives ahead of them. and every parent in america has a heart heavy with hurt. among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. so our hearts are broken today. we grieve for the families of those we lost. and we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child's
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innocence has been torn away far too early. as a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. an elementary school in newtown, a shopping mall in oregon, a house of worship in wisconsin, a movie theater in colorado, countless street corners in places like chicago and philadelphia. any of these neighborhoods could be our own. so we have to come together, and we're going to have to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this from happening. regardless of politics. this weekend, michelle and i are doing what i know every parent is doing, holding our children as close as we can and reminding them how much we love them. there are families in connecticut who can't do that today. and they need all of us right now. because while nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those of us in need.
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to remind them we're there for them, that we're praying for them. and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories but also in their communities and in their country. thank you and god bless you. >> we are learning chilling details of what happened when the gunman burst into sandy hook elementary school. some of those details are coming from young survivors. children who were in that school during the rampage and who were able to escape. here's cnn's brian todd. >> reporter: the account of a young boy said to be delivering an attendance report to the office at sandy hook elementary school when the shootings took place is surreal. >> i saw some of the bullets going past the hall that i was right next to. and then a teacher pulled me into her classroom. >> he said he heard a sound like someone kicking a door. his mother clinging to him had
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words of thanks. >> i'm so grateful to the teacher who saved him. >> you think the teacher saved his life? >> she definitely did. he had bullets going by him and she grabbed him and another child and pulled him into a classroom. >> brendan murray, a fourth grader described the chaos. >> i was in the gym at the time and so, the teachers, we heard lots of bangs and we thought that it was the custodian knocking stuff down. we heard screaming. and so, we -- we went to the wall and we sat down. and then police came in. and it was like, is he in here and ran out. and when somebody yelled get to a safe place. so we went to the closet in the gym and sat there for a little while. and then the police were knocking on the door and were like, we're evacuating people.
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we're evacuating people. >> cnn is only airing sound of children whose parents gave permission. as one woman walked away from the school she was heard crying why, why. a policeman was heard saying it was the worst thing he'd seen in his career. a nurse from nearby danbury hospital described the scene there as parents waited for word about their children. >> parents, all these parents were waiting for their children to come out. they thought they were, you know, still alive. and there's 20 parents that were just told that their children are dead. it was awful. >> the father of a young girl who survived was just trying to process it all. >> it was shocking. i got the call at work this morning and -- i can't believe a small town like this would ever have anything like this happen. and to be in an elementary school, it's unheard of. >> by late friday afternoon and into the evening, evacuated children were being cared for and reuniting with their parents at a nearby fire house.
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brian todd, cnn, washington. >> we're also getting a lot of questions about how you can help those affected. if you want to help, go to cnn.com/impact. john? >> thanks so much, ali. as everyone knows, our focus as much as it can be is on victims. there is an investigation going on right now. there are so many questions. and we're learning more now about the suspected shooter in this case. police say his name is adam lanza. cnn's mary snow is at lanza's home. what can you tell us about the suspected shooter? >> reporter: john, it's believed that he lived with his mother at the home that is behind me now blocked off by police. and in terms of descriptions of him, one neighbor described him
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as troubled. former classmates described him as very bright, someone who kept to himself socially awkward, and we're also learning from our -- cnn's susan candiotti that a law enforcement official told her that a family member of lanza told investigators that he had a form of autism. >> mary, what do we know about the guns? the weapons that he used in the shooting? we understand there were two pistols, also a rifle perhaps found in the car. >> reporter: and law enforcement officials so far are saying what cnn has learned is they were legally purchased by his mother nancy lanza. >> all right. mary snow, thank you so much. we'll be checking in with you all morning. ali? >> you were talking about the guns, john, let's focus in on
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the weapons used on the attack. our national correspondent susan candiotti has that part of our coverage. susan? >> we're trying to get down to the bottom a bit more about this man, this shooter, adam lanza, 20 years old, we know according to our sources that when he came to that school he was armed with three guns. he was wearing what is described to me as black battle fatigues and a military vest. now, where did he get these three guns? and what kind were they? the three guns were two handguns, a glock, and a sig sauer as well as a .223 bush master. this is a semiautomatic gun. we've got photographs of the type of weapon it is. we understand from our sources that these guns were all registered belonged to his mother, his mother who was also killed. now, the mother's body was found in the house where a family home here in this area. we don't know much more about --
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about adam lanza. we do know that his brother ryan who was a bit older, 24 years old, he was taken in to custody for questioning. he is not being called a suspect, but he was in hoboken, new jersey, when they brought him in for questioning. that's where he lives to try to find out what if anything he knew about this. what he could tell them about his brother. what information they -- he can give about his background. and police also questioned their father. he still lives in this area. he is divorced from his wife who was one of the victims here, and he has remarried. so he too is being questioned by police to try to shed some light on adam lanza and why this tragedy happened. >> thanks for that. a lot of questions are forming around the shooter's mother nancy lanza, the registered owner of the three weapons as
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susan told us. guns similar to these as we're showing you now, a glock revolver, a glock pistol, a sig sauer and a rifle. i'm joined by a cnn contributor. there are a lot of questions about the assault rifle first. this was legally purchased by nancy lanza, why would she need a semiautomatic? and what the laws are around acquiring one? >> well, the laws are that you could acquire it. there had been a ban in place that michigan during the clinton administration. but it was allowed to expire and it's not been renewed. anyone that can buy a pistol can buy one of these weapons. that bush master .223, that's the same caliber our military carried in vietnam and since it's used in the m-16 and m-4 automatic rifles. in this case, you would have to
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keep pulling the trigger, but you can fire as many bullets as quickly as you can pull the trigger with that gun and the two handguns. >> and for the benefit of our viewers, who are not familiar with guns. the term semiautomatic means you keep pulling the trigger, you don't hold it down once, but you don't have to do something to shoot again. >> that's correct. and in the case of a semiautomatic pistol, the bullets are fed in through a magazine and they can range in size from seven or eight rounds to 15 rounds. the two guns you've been showing pictures of would appear to be the 15-round standard sized magazines for those guns. but you can buy extended magazines as was seen in other shootings in the past that can go 30 rounds or even more. and, again, it's as quickly as you can pull the trigger. as opposed to the revolver which is only going to hold six rounds and you have to stop and refeed
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manually each of the bullets into the chamber, close it up and begin shooting again. with a semiautomatic, you fire as fast as you can go, drop that magazine, put a new one in and keep on going. and, again, if he had to stop and reload several times, he's probably not going to be jumped on by 5-year-olds while he's in the re-loading process. and, of course, the teachers are in the process of trying to save the children and huddle them. so he's going to have no opposition physically by any of the victims while he's shooting, while he's reloading and then reshooting. >> tom, there are many reasons why an owner would choose a pistol over a revolver, but one of the advantages of the pistol, one of the advantages of that is in order to reload, you can reload as you said in these cases possibly 15 rounds very instantly. you press a button, the magazine drops out and you put another
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loaded magazine in. >> that's correct. you can shoot a much more rapid pace of fire with a semiautomatic pistol than you can a revolver. and especially the quality pistols like a glock or sig sauer have become the choice of law enforcement because of that reason. they're high quality and allow a rapid rate of fire while in use. >> does it strike you as unusual that somebody would be owning these three weapons? or is this normal for somebody who would own guns? >> i wouldn't call it normal, but, you know, it's estimated there's 285 million guns at large in this country with a population of a little over 300 million. so there's a lot of guns, handguns, assault rifles, a variety of weapons that are out there, and are perfectly legal to acquire as we've seen. and in this case, if the mother acquired the weapons, and acquired them legally, then you don't have the situation of
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mentally disturbed child going through the testing or going through any kind of background check to get the weapon. he just takes her weapons and uses them against her and the other victims in this case. >> and connecticut does have some of the stricter gun laws in this country. thanks, we'll check in with you through the course of the morning. 26 lives cut short after doing something so routine, going to work and going to school. we are trying to find out more information about the victims. you're watching our coverage live from connecticut.
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i want to welcome you back to a somber morning. a special coverage of the connecticut school shooting. i'm ali velshi here in newtown, connecticut, near the scene of the attack on an elementary school. it's just behind me over that ridge which left 20 children dead and six adults. in less than an hour around 8:00 eastern this morning, we are expecting police right here to release the names of the victims killed inside sandy hook elementary school. let's check in now with nick valencia in the cnn center in atlanta. nick, we know the school
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principal was one of the adults killed along with the school psychologist. i'm hearing you just got off the phone with another teacher who was there when it happened. tell us what she said. >> good morning, ali, i just spoke to a teacher, one of the music teachers who is being called a hero at sandy hook elementary school. it's reported that she barricaded herself along with a group of children while the suspected gunman knocked on the door trying to get in. i spoke to her earlier this morning from her home in seymour, connecticut, she told us, ali, it's a little bit too hard to talk right now. but her prayers and thoughts are with her friends and families of those that lost loved ones. ali? >> oh, wow. what else have you got on victims, nick? >> well, as you mentioned, ali, 26 people died in all in newtown, connecticut, yesterday. six of those adults, one of them is 56-year-old mary sherlock, a school psychologist, and there's no doubting her success, ali,
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she'd been through three school systems before landing at sandy hook elementary school where she was a fixture there in the education department. a lot of people remember her as being the person they would go to during crisis situations. so, you know, she's not around now. the person that people would turn to in a situation like this. we're hearing she was in a meeting yesterday with the principal and vice principal along with another parent who spoke to cnn yesterday on friday, they told us they heard the loud pop, pop, pops coming from the gun in the hallway. they went to investigate and tried to figure out what the noise was, sherlock and the principal perished, they didn't come back alive. ali, we know that mary sherlock, 56 years old was an expert in psychology with a masters from southern connecticut state university. she also worked in the community at a group home for disabled adults. and as i mentioned, she was part of that school's crisis intervention team. sherlock was also a family woman married for 31 years, ali, she
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leaves behind her husband bill along with two daughters, both in their 20s. she lists among her activities that she liked her hobbies, she liked to garden, spend time at the lake and go to the theater. she won't be able to do any of that anymore. ali? >> 26 people killed, many more shattered families, hundreds in this community are reeling this morning as they wake up. and they're going to learn more very, very shortly. the names of those victims, those 20 kids, 18 of them killed in the school, two more died in hospital. there is one person still wounded. nick, we'll stay with you this morning as you learn more through the course of it. nick valencia at the cnn center in atlanta. let's go back to john berman in newtown, connecticut, with me at another site. john? >> good morning, ali, i'm standing in front of the church where last night there was a vigil. more than 1,000 people gathered here where i am to grieve together, to be together, to mourn those lost. so many of the people here,
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though, asking questions, not just questions about what happened and why, but what to do next. parents, teachers, an entire nation right now still struggling to grasp how a gunman could take so many innocent lives at an elementary school. an elementary school. so how do you talk to your child? your child about what happened? our lisa sylvester spoke to some experts. >> reporter: if there's an image that sums up this story, it is this. any parent out there can relate. psychiatrist charles razen with the university of arizona's college of medicine. >> how do you wrap your mind around something like this? with a good deal of heart break and with the understanding it's going to take a while and that there will be people closely impacted by this who will never wrap their minds around this. human minds are not infinite. and this is -- this is now appearing to be probably the worst schoolyard catastrophe in history. and so there's going to be a
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huge long-term fallout for this that is going to also impact people's emotional well being, and we need to gear ourselves up for that fallout because it's coming, because this is a horrible thing. >> the news out of newtown is traumatic for parents and for children. this happened at a school where kids are supposed to feel safe. >> how do you explain this to children? well, again, depends on the age of the child. but i think simple, forthright explanations are the best. and i think one of the things i tell children is there are some bad people in the world and sometimes bad people do really terrible things. and a terrible thing has happened and there have been some children killed and this is terrible, but you're safe, and, you know, you're safe and you're in a situation now where you're not going to be harmed. >> reporter: the american academy of pediatrics offers this advice. take into account the age of the child and provide basic information without offering details that may only alarm
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them. ask your children what they already know and answer questions. parents can share their own feelings in the ways they're coping and find meaningful ways to help others. >> children are resilient. and what really matters now is how we help them understand what's happened, but even more important is the sense of protection and safety that we give them starting this moment and for the next weeks and months. >> for those who witnessed those children who saw, those who covered their eyes and ears to shut out the horror, they need time, love, and prayers. >> president obama said it that parents are going to go home, hug their children, and even to process this as a nation. that's just going to take time. >> we'll bring you much more on the school shooting tragedy here in newtown, connecticut, in just a moment. but first, let's go to cnn's victor blackwell in atlanta for the latest on other stories in the headlines. >> good morning, ali.
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a controversial referendum is underway in egypt right now. president mohammed morsi headed to the polls today to vote on a new constitution for his country. he has urged egyptians to support it, but some opposition parties want them to reject it. they fear this will consolidate islamist power and say it tramples on civil rights. the united states has given the go ahead to send patriot anti-ballistic missiles to turkey along with 400 troops to operate them. now, this means the u.s. forces for the first time will be in direct position to take action against the assad regime in syria next door. but officials say the surface to air missiles are for defensive purposes only. and this man may soon return to power as japan's next prime minister. the head of japan's liberal democratic party. voters head to the polls this weekend to pick the new parliament. and japan's next government will face a struggling economy and
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heightened tensions with china and north korea. in london, a mass has just been held at westminster cathedral for the nurse who apparently killed herself after she transferred that prank call from an australian radio station regarding the duchess of cambridge. her family attended the mass. her children say there is now an unfillable void in their lives. she was found hanged last week and her death sparked an international outcry. let's go back now to cnn's ali velshi in newtown, connecticut. >> thanks, victor. as a fact, the tragedy emerged yesterday, 20 parents had some of the hardest news to hear, 20 children killed in a violent shooting spree. we're going to have a look at how it all unfolded, starting with the first call to police and, of course, in about 30 minutes, we are expecting the names of the victims to be announced at a news conference. stay with cnn. we'll be right back. twins. i didn't see them coming.
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Weekend Early Start
CNN December 15, 2012 4:00am-4:30am PST

News/Business. Randi Kaye. The day's top news and events. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Ali 10, Connecticut 7, Adam Lanza 5, Pop 4, Atlanta 4, John 4, Sherlock 4, Nancy Lanza 3, Mary Sherlock 3, Sauer 3, Semiautomatic 2, Olay 2, Nick Valencia 2, Susan Candiotti 2, John Berman 2, Mary 1, Samsung Galaxy S3 1, Clinton Administration 1, Semiautomatic Gun 1, Victor Blackwell 1
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